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World News

China to standardise diagnostic kits for African swine fever

(Reuters) - China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs issued new rules on Friday to standardize the production and use of diagnostic kits for African swine fever as it tries to improve its control of a disease that has devastated its hog herd.

African swine fever has killed millions of pigs across China since reaching the country in 2018, reducing pork output in the world’s top consumer by 20% in the first half of this year and sending pork prices soaring.

Dozens of types of diagnostic kits are available in China but experts have raised doubts about their quality and efficacy.

The ministry said that from Jan. 1, 2021, all products used by provincial authorities in order to issue animal health certificates or for other disease monitoring purposes must have obtained an approval number from the ministry to ensure the accuracy of the results.

From Sept. 1, any African swine fever diagnostic product that has not yet been tested by the China Animal Disease Control Center, has failed the test, or has been tested but is not yet registered by the centre must stop production.

Products that have been tested and registered but not yet obtained approval can continue to be manufactured until the end of this year, it said.

African swine fever has no cure or vaccine and is usually deadly to pigs, though does not harm people.

Reporting by Dominique Patton; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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